Wednesday, February 25, 2015

It’s that time of year….

School officially begins Monday, March 2nd in all national schools across Peru. In the small coastal villages and in the mountains what that date really means is that classrooms will be in various stages of readiness, and a few kids will show up for a brief time that first day just to see what’s happening, but settling into the school routine is a gradual process that won’t be in full swing until at least mid-month if that. It’s a busy time of year in the rice paddies and sometimes the kids are needed to help with the harvesting or to watch their younger siblings while the parents are in the fields.  Another reason kids may not be in school is the lack of school supplies. Which is why we revisited the Pinglo Santa Maria family this morning in San Bernardino. 

Every year the Minister of Education publishes a list of required school supplies for each student in kinder, primary and secondary. The list doesn’t change much from year to year. Some of the basic items we took to San Bernardino this morning are shown in the photo. When we donate school supplies we include a bag to carry the items in.

Janina is 3 and will start kinder this year. Everything she will need in class…pencils, paper, scissors, erasers, notebooks etc are in that bag. Incidentally, if you noticed the mud on the kids feet don’t think these are ‘dirty’ people. It rained hard this morning and San Bernardino’s dirt streets turned into a quagmire, and that mud gets carried onto the dirt floors of the houses which makes more mud. The sun will soon appear drying the streets and floors, the mud will be washed off and things will be back to normal.

Maritza is 6 and starts primary school this month. We absolutely love her smile and the way she rushes to hug Maribel whenever we visit. She too has everything she will need for school in that bag as do her sisters Maria 13, and Daisy 12 who both attend primary school.

When we think of school supplies we don’t normally focus on individual families but instead look at entire classrooms. In the case of the Pinglo Santa Maria family school supplies were in addition to other assistance to the family. In the typical pronoei or primary class with an average of 22 students, all of them are needy. We don’t distinguish between the 2 or 3 students whose families may be able to afford school supplies and the remainder of the kids.

We have already begun visiting villages and schools and our experience tells us that we'll be discovering communities that need our help. A donation of $15 will supply a preschooler with everything they need. $7 will provide the basics for a primary grade student. Please help us to keep kids like the Pinglo Santa Marias in the schoolroom. You can do that at the Promesa Peru webpage. Thank you.

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